Although Salvestrin Estates Vineyard and Winery is presently celebrating 75 years of operation, winegrapes have been grown on the property twice that many years — giving the vineyard one of the longest histories to be found anywhere in the Napa Valley. The original vintner, Dr. George Crane, came to St. Helena from San Jose in 1858. Crane was a prominent physician — the director of what is now Santa Clara Valley Medical Center, Santa Clara County’s public hospital — who chose viticulture over medicine, Susanne Salvestrin said, “because he decided that he could make more money growing grapes than he could

Salvestrin family celebrates 81 years of grape growing in Napa Valley BY CAROLYN YOUNGER Salvestrin Winery could be considered greater than the sum of its parts comprising, as it does, one winery, two vineyards (St. Helena Highway, Crystal Springs), two soil types (Cortina and Bale), five grape varieties, cabernet sauvignon, sangiovese, zinfandel, merlot, petite sirah; a blended wine, Retaggio, and three generations of Salvestrins whose grape-growing knowledge has been passed from father to son and on again over a span of 81 years. The ties to Napa Valley viticulture go back even farther. The family’s original 23 acres, whittled over the years to

St. Helena is a fantastic place for a love story. It’s almost impossible not to fall in love with the land, the people, the je ne sais quoi of it all. For the Salvestrins love affair, it all began when Italian immigrants John and Emma Salvestrin fell in love with St. Helena while visiting friends in the early 1920’s. In 1932 they purchased a portion of the historic Crane Ranch, including the Victorian home of Dr. Crane.  Probhibition got in the way for a bit but with the repeal of 1933, they started selling grapes and the industry began to

No matter how many wineries are visited and how many wines are tasted, there is still a certain thrill anytime it happens. "It," of course, is if the winemaker appears. OK, he or she is really just someone who knows a way around grapes, but it still somehow feels like meeting a celebrity. At Salvestrin Winery in St. Helena, it's a good bet that you'll come face to face with owner and winemaker Rich Salvestrin. It's hard to miss him, actually, because part of the tasting experience takes you into the tank and barrel room, past his tidy little laboratory and